The temperature has dropped, fall is around the corner, and I am heaving a sigh as I realize that I have less than 8 weeks to get to a lot of the things on my list for this year. Sure, there are plenty of things to do in Missouri and Illinois in the winter, but there are a lot of things that are only open from April-October, so those months always have a real sense of urgency. This year we crossed the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, Gateway Geyser, and a return to Jesse James Wax Museum off our list. I hope to still get to Warm Springs Ranch, Onondaga Cave, and my very favorite thing, Silver Dollar City during the Harvest Festival.

Another that has been on my "limited" list for years is Purina Farms, and we finally managed to make it there this summer! As you might have guessed from the photos above, our favorite reason to visit is the dog demonstrations. Specifically, the Pro Plan Performance Team performing in the Incredible Dog Arena. Yes, this is obviously a corporate attraction dedicated to lifelong Purina (Nestle) brand loyalty.

We had so much fun watching these dogs perform, and Francis got so many great pictures. I've owned some working breeds over the years, and it's clear that what Cesar Milan says is true: dogs need a job. These dogs LOVE having a job. The greatest part about these performing dogs? They are ALL rescues!

Personally, I've always loved corporate family attractions like Grant's Farm and Purina Farms.  I had not been to Purina Farms in over 25 years, and I can tell you that the Victorian Cat House was indelibly burned into my brain. It was not as big as I remembered, but it is still SUPER AMAZING and I bet every kid that sees it today still thinks it is enormous and like 100 cats live here. (I think we saw 4.)

If your kids like Suson Park, this is also another great FREE attraction to check out farm animals. We really are so lucky to have so many free family attractions in the St Louis area!

You can even milk a cow! First they demonstrate how this old milking machine works, and then kids can take turns milking by hand. Such patient cows! There are chickens and rabbits, as well.

The Visitor's Center closes at the beginning of November, but there are all kinds of competitions at the Event Center and Herding Trial Fields that you can watch any time (unless noted otherwise). Obviously, most people will think of this as an activity for small children, but the Visitor's Center does have a very interesting and in-depth corporate museum, and it would probably be difficult to read all the information with small children in tow. If you find yourself in the area of Gray Summit, MO, stop by and check it out, no matter your age! Reservations are encouraged. Check out the website for all the details.

Show more